Abstract: Despite an increasing trend in labour migration and economic dependence on foreign migrant workers in Sri Lanka, very little is known about the child care and nutritional status of “children left behind”. The aim of this study was to examine the factors influencing the nutritional status and care practices of children left behind. A sample of 321 children, 6–59 months old of international migrant workers from a cross-sectional nationally represented study were included. Care practices were assessed using ten caregiving behaviours on personal hygiene, feeding, and use of health services. Results revealed the prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight to be 11.6, 18.2 and 24.0 percent, respectively. Father being a migrant worker has a positive effect on childcare practices and birthweight of the child. This study indicates that undernutrition remains a major concern, particularly in the poorest households where the mother is a migrant worker, also each additional 100 g increase in the birthweight of a child in a migrant household, decreases the probability of being wasted, stunted and underweight by 6%, 8% and 23% respectively. In depth study is needed to understand how labour migration affects household level outcomes related to child nutrition and childcare in order to build skills and capacities of migrant families.
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